paiN Gaming came into the Season 5 World Championship as one of the two International Wildcard teams, after the first round of group games they have more wins than China’s number one seed.
Although they weren’t favourites for the group, most analysts thought that they were the strongest wildcard team ever going into a world championship and had a good chance to upset all three teams in their group.
A Slow Start
paiN played their first game against Korea’s 2nd seed KOO Tigers, most expected a simple win for the Korean team, but paiN didn’t roll over easily.
The brazilian team won a 2 for 1 trade in the enemy jungle at level 1 and held even for nearly 15 minutes until the Koreans took over, although they lost there were obvious positives to take from the game.
Star mid laner Gabriel “Kami” Santos was ahead in cs at 10 minutes against Lee “KurO” Seo-haeng and all the other lanes held impressively even. The game ended after just over 30 minutes but paiN certainly posed a bigger challenge than KOO, as well as many viewers, would have expected.
Counter Logic Gaming, the NALCS champions, were paiN’s next opponent, this would prove to be paiN’s least competitive game of the group stage. paiN were systematically picked apart by CLG and would head into their game against the LMS’ Flash Wolves as clear underdogs, at least that’s what most people thought.
Staying in the running
Had paiN lost to the Flash Wolves their chances of being the first ever IWC team to get out of the group stage would have been effectively eradicated, but they didn’t.
Flash Wolves came into the tournament as the LMS’ 2nd seed but had performed better than many expected of them, heading into day 3 with a 1-1 record having beaten group favourites KOO Tigers convincingly as well as nearly taking down CLG.
paiN, however, were unpeturbed by the Flash Wolves’ performance and headed into Sunday with a new lease of life and the whole of Brazil (and some of the rest of the world) cheering them on.
It was clear from before the game started that paiN had come prepared for this game.
They banned Nidalee away from FW’s Karsa, who has shown up as one of the brightest jungle talents at the tournament, after his outstanding performance vs KOO and picked up Braum on first rotation.
paiN then took Tristana and Gragas, a good combination of tower pushing and disengage in answer to the Darius and Thresh picks of the Flash Wolves, they had already secured a strong 2v2 lane with Tristana and Braum as well as a good teamfighter and early ganker in Gragas.
In reply to Steak’s Darius they took Gnar, who has shown to be a strong counterpick due to his kiting ability, the draft was already looking good for paiN before they locked in Kami’s TF, which proved vital.
Maple counterpicked with Ahri but due to running cleanse his kill pressure in lane was reduced and his global pressure paled in comparison to the ‘Destiny’ and teleport from Kami’s Twisted Fate.
paiN played out the early game well, mid and bot lane were both even at the 10 minute mark while Mylon accrued a handy 25cs lead on Steak in the toplane, paiN were happy to go even into the mid and late game where their greater global pressure and scaling AD carry would start to come in to play.
paiN utilised Kami’s ult for first blood onto Steak just past the 18 minute mark, giving a kill to the already 40cs ahead Gnar, from then their comp went from strength to strength.
paiN continued to lead in towers and gold despite a pick onto Dioud in mid and further asserted their control after a convincing teamfight around dragon, Kami was 2/0/2 with 200cs+ at the 23 minute mark and living up to the hype around him.
Flash Wolves, however, had not given up yet. They strung together pick after pick, in particular an impressive Thresh hook from SwordArt onto brTT and clawed themselves back into the game, at the 38 minute mark Flash Wolves had converted their baron into a 8-6 kill lead and a top lane inhibitor.
Just minutes later paiN though came back with a 2 for 1 trade in the bottom lane, another two kills went to the prodigy mid laner, who was now 4/0/4 with over 400 cs, and the game was once again wide open.
It only took another 5 minutes for paiN’s baron bait to turn into the game winning teamfight. Dioud seemed caught but blocked all of the damage from Maple’s Ahri, a perfect ult from SirT lead to easy resets for brTT and an ace for the loss of just Gragas. Kami was 5/0/7, brTT was 6/2/5 and paiN were destroying their first nexus of the 2015 World Championship group stage.
paiN finished the first weekend of the group stage with a 1-2 record, equal to the Flash Wolves and just one game behind joint group leaders Counter Logic Gaming and the KOO Tigers.
After their impressive victory against the LMS team paiN will be looking to repeat the feat on Thursday, if they manage to take a game from either CLG or KOO the group is up for grabs along with a place in the Round of 8.
If there is one thing we have learned from the first 4 days of the World Championship, it is that Brazil International Wildcard team are not to be taken for granted, this is surely the best chance Worlds has ever seen for a wildcard team to make the quarter finals.